29 June 2022
Why You Study Theology and Ministry
This is my final pastoral letter to our students and inquirers as provost of the Seminary. I remain as a faculty member and will continue as president of the D. James Kennedy Institute of Reformed Leadership, a Christian think tank on the campus of Erskine College and Seminary. So, I pray to the Lord that I will have the joy of joining you in a teaching and learning experience together.
I want to leave you with a Word from Another World as related by the Apostle Peter:
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4–5 (NKJV)).
There are powerful, eternal truths embedded in this Petrine passage; incredibly relevant divine guidance for your vocation as a minister of the Gospel. I want enumerate these as my charge to you.
You are chosen by God. You are precious in His sight. He loves you. You are chosen by God. He loves a sinful world. He chose you to declare the unsearchable riches of Christ to this world. Therefore study to be an ambassador of this Savior who lived the life we could not live, and died the death that should have been ours.
You are a living stone, born out of the immovable, celestial properties of that foolishly rejected Cornerstone, the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s will is for you to take all that learn here and compact it into a single holy passion: to bring in the lost, baptize then in the Trinitarian Name, nourish them on Word, Sacrament, and Prayer, and you will behold a wonder: that God will arrange each living stone to fit perfectly with the other, creating a reflect of His glorious presence. This assembly of living stones is the sanctuary of God: the dwelling place of God on earth, and the Ark of salvation for the perishing.
You are learning so that you might go. You will go that you might teach. Yes, but more: you are be informed and formed in the Gospel so that you may become more like our Lord Jesus Christ. O how we need holy men of God in our day. May the Gospel of Grace you have learned here transform you into humble, grateful servants of God who labor for the vision of a New Heaven and a New Earth built on the life of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Four decades after the Spirit of the Almighty moved upon my heart to proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins, I am more excited now than ever before. I pray that you, too, will grow in the Grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus, and that, as Bonhoeffer put it, “you learn to love God for God’s own sake.” This is why you study. This is the fuel that will allow you to run the race.
Dr. Michael A. Milton